Acoustic monitoring of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) in Massachusetts Bay: implications for management and conservation

Keith M Hernandez, Denise Risch, Danielle M Cholewiak, Micah J Dean, Leila T Hatch, William S Hoffman, Aaron N Rice, Douglas Zemeckis, Sofie M. Van Parijs

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Hernandez, K. M., Risch, D., Cholewiak, D. M., Dean, M. J., Hatch, L. T., Hoffman, W. S., Rice, A. N., Zemeckis, D., and Van Parijs, S. M. 2013. Acoustic monitoring of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) in Massachusetts Bay: implications for management and conservation. – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 70: 628–635. Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) stocks in northeastern US waters are depleted and stock recovery has been slow; research into the spawning behaviour of this species can help inform conservation and management measures. Male cod produce low-frequency grunts during courtship and spawning. Passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) offers a different perspective from which to investigate the occurrence, spatial extent and duration of spawning cod aggregations. A marine autonomous recording unit was deployed in the “Spring Cod Conservation Zone” (SCCZ) located in Massachusetts Bay, western Atlantic, to record cod grunts from April–June 2011. Cod grunts were present on 98.67% of the recording days (n = 75 days). They occurred across all 24 h, although significantly more grunts were found during the day than night-time (p = 0.0065). Grunt durations ranged from 57–360 ms, and the fundamental frequency and second harmonic had mean peak frequencies of 49.7 ± 5.6 and 102.9 Hz ± 10.9 sd, respectively. Cod grunt rates were low compared with those reported for other spawning fish, and may be indicative of diel movement patterns. Next steps will focus on expanding PAM coverage within the SCCZ, alongside prospecting for unknown spawning grounds within existing archival data.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)628-635
Number of pages8
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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